Modern European Memory (HISM462)

Lecturer(s)Dr James Mark
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
Pre-requisitesThose of entry to the MA programme
Duration of ModuleOne Term (11 weeks)
Total Student Study Time300 hours, including 11 x 2 hour seminar

Module aims

This module will explore how Europeans have remembered and memorialised their recent pasts. It addresses how different countries have attempted to come to terms with difficult aspects of their histories, such as the experience of world wars, colonialism, fascism and communism. It will also examine how particular memories from the past are employed to stabilise national, regional and other social identities in the present. The 'sites of memory' at which groups remember their pasts, such as museums, memorials, literature, buildings, national commemorations, debates over the past, trials and state funerals, will also be examined.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly two-hour seminar focused on a set theme. Students will be required to undertake preparatory reading of primary and secondary materials. Individual and group presentations will serve as the basis for discussion guided by the module tutor. Essays will be assigned, discussed and returned in individual tutorials.


One essay of 3000 words based on primary sources and one essay of 5000 words, plus seminar presentations.


One essay of 3000 words (38%) and one essay of 5000 words (62%).

Syllabus plan

This is merely a guide rather than a definitive plan; the syllabus will be negotiated according to the interests and research foci of the students taking the module in any given year.
Topics may include: Introduction to Theories of Memory; Invented Tradition and the Nation; Fascism on Film; Remembering Communism in Eastern Europe; Remembering the Second World War: Resistance, Collaboration and National Identity; Genocide and Memory: the Jewish and Armenian Holocausts; Trials and Justice for the Past; Nostalgia: From Ostalgie to Memories of Empire; Museum Culture and the Politics of the Past; Coming to Terms with Empire: France and Algeria.

Indicative basic reading list

Connerton, Paul, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989)
Nora, Pierre, Les lieux de mémoire (Paris: Gallimard, 1984); in English translation: Realms of Memory. The Construction of the French Past, trans. by Arthur Goldhammer (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996)
Hobsbawm, Eric and Ranger, Terence (eds.), The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
Ashplant, Timothy et al (eds.), The Politics of War Memory and Commemoration (London: Routledge,2000)
Muller, Jan Werner, Memory and Power in post-war Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)
Niven, William, Facing the Nazi Past: United Germany and the Legacy of the Third Reich (London: Routledge, 2001)